by CI Staff
iFinance is a Mac program that helps users create and maintain a budget, record transactions and monitor their stock positions. The program is easy to use and inexpensive, yet comprehensive and informative. As with most budgeting software, the hardest part about using iFinance is that it is quite labor intensive when setting it up. In most cases, users will either have to record transactions manually or import them from a compatible file. However, iFinance goes further than most programs to make it as easy as possible for the user.
Since you can download your financial information from most banks and brokerages, iFinance allows users to import data in CSV, QIF, OFX and MT-940 formats. For instance, instead of manually recording every transaction on a Scottrade account, this information can be downloaded into a CSV file and then uploaded into iFinance.
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Users who have a hard time remembering to record their smaller cash transactions, such as their morning coffee, can use the iFinance Mobile app in conjunction with iFinance. Instead of keeping receipts and sitting down at the end of the day to record transactions, iFinance Mobile allows users to update their expenses right when they occur. Transactions are automatically synced to iFinance on their Mac. iFinance Mobile is available for $1.99 through the iTunes AppStore for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Though personal finance programs can’t replace file cabinets, sometimes it is useful to have a digital copy of a document, such as the deed to a house or the pink slip to a car. Therefore, iFinance allows users to scan and attach as many documents as they like to a specific transaction. They can then locate and view the document easily, while the original copy is stored safely in a safety deposit box, for instance.
These features make budgeting easier, but they are no replacement for the convenience of automatically updated information. For this reason iFinance 3.3 introduced support for HBCI, or Home Banking Computer Interface, an online banking protocol developed by German banks. Though this many not be useful to some users, as many banks are not HBCI compatible, it shows that the program’s developers are working toward the best possible user experience.
After income and expenses are recorded in an account under the Funds section, users can select a category for each transaction for analysis purposes, set repeat intervals if the same transaction will occur regularly in the future, and much more. Under the Stocks section, users can record their stock positions and monitor their performance. The Reports section details the user’s income and expense transactions for the month as well as in the future (if the transaction is set to repeat). Users can then see their income and expenses by category, for the month and year, and in a variety of chart forms, such as pie and bar charts.
If used to its potential, iFinance will be a great tool for any individual seeking to monitor his or her finances quickly, easily and effectively. Before buying the program, you can download the free trial version, which is fully functional except that it will not save, print, or sync data.
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 or later, a Mac with at least a 1 GHz G4 CPU, and 1GB of RAM
Size: 71 MB
Price: $29.99; free limited trial